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Kentucky State Fair shows off new concert venue, exhibits on opening day

Updated: Aug. 16, 2018 at 11:51 PM EDT
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Fried and cheesy foods are what many told us is their favorite aspect of the state fair....
Fried and cheesy foods are what many told us is their favorite aspect of the state fair. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Country artist and Kentucky native Walker Montgomery opened for Gary Allan. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Country artist and Kentucky native Walker Montgomery opened for Gary Allan. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

. - LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky State Fair's goal each year is to provide more experiences in the competitive environment of entertainment. An all time attendance record for the fair was set 24 years ago at 684,356 people.

"In the age of Netflix and iPhone apps, we have to compete and in our view," Cody Patterson, Director of Communications for the state fair said. "Experience is the way to do that."

The Bluegrass Village is a new addition to the Kentucky State Fair. Located near Kentucky Kingdom, it's now the home of the Texas Roadhouse Concert Series.

"It's such a great event and it's just a good Kentucky Tradition," country artist Walker Montgomery said.

Montgomery was the opening act for Gary Allan on Thursday night. A Lexington native, and University of Kentucky student, he knows a lot about the state fair. He's also just released his first single "Simple Town."

In addition to Montgomery and Allan, other big names like Casting Crowns, Josh Turner and MercyMe are scheduled to perform this summer.

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"We have 11 days, 26 bands, and they are all free for the first time at the fair," Patterson said.

The Bluegrass Village, adjacent to the concert stage, focuses on local beer and food vendors.

"My favorite part is the food," vendor Lanona Nelson said.

Nelson fries up local ingredients into cheesy deliciousness at her truck, Cheezy Does It.

"I used to do festivals with my mother when I was younger so I have an attraction to festivals and the fair," Nelson said.

Something new to the fair that Nelson didn't see as a child - bourbon glazed ham doughnut burgers. The burger known as the "Big Clifty" uses local bourbon and ham.

The new, innovative additions is what the fair is all about - local agriculture and what it does for the state. Another new addition is an acre of games and interactive booths called Ag-land. Each commodity group is represented until the end of the fair on August 26th.

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